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Epic on a storyboard

MANJULA KOLANU
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In the current Telugu film industry scenario few filmmakers – producers, writers or directors - care to make a movie with a bound script. The few directors who do work with scripts go in for several revisions in the name of ‘improvements' on the sets, in consultation with the stars and writers, just before a scene is to be shot.

In a clear departure from this norm, director Bapu and writer late Mullapudi Venkata Ramana were among the few film makers to work with a pre-planned script and screenplay of the original story.

In February the Telugu film Sri Ramarajyam directed and written by Bapu-Ramana duo starring Balakrishna and Nayantara completed its 100 days run. On the occasion, the film's original script was brought out as a book. The book is in fact the complete original script and story board that the duo had worked with for Sri Ramarajyam .

Mullapudi Venkata Ramana who wrote scripts for many classics in Telugu and had worked with director Bapu for more than four decades, passed away during the filming of Sri Ramarajyam in 2011. From Sakshi in 1967 to Sri Ramarajyam , Ramana had written all the scripts for Bapu`s movies in Telugu. Sri Ramarajyam was his last script. Quite naturally Bapu dedicates the book to his dear departed friend Ramana.

The 472 pages long book has the entire film in print, complete with songs, dialogues and scene settings. Besides, it also has 22 pages comprising colour photographs of the film shooting in progress as well as select scenes and settings from the final movie. Further, what makes this book a The visual delight as well as a collector's delight are the detailed illustrations by Bapu — his trademark black and white sketches demonstrate the detailing that went into the visualisation of the film — each and every scene, camera angle and set design has been planned, documented and thereafter canned.

The story boarding is thorough – the movements of the actors, positions, pauses in their dialogues, their expressions, and the camera angles.

One also sees how clearly Bapu had directed the art department. For instance at one point, the special effects people are reminded — with Bapu's notes on the pages — of their promise to glamorise the throne on which Bhudevi is seated.

The book takes a chronological journey through the film, so that it actually becomes a printed version of the film, as seen through the lyrics of the song, dialogues and illustrated scenes. The predominantly black and white book comes alive intermittently with the colour photographs. The reader therefore experiences the unfolding of the age old epic as first visualised in black an white and finally coming alive on celluloid, in colour.

The book claims to be the first script-cum-story board in the history if cinema; certainly it's a first for the Telugu film industry. In could indeed serve as a text book for story boarding in Telugu films. Producer Yalamanchili Saibabu's support for this path breaking publication from Vahini Book Trust, Hyderabad must be appreciated.

MANJULA KOLANU

Sri Ramarajyam

By Bapu-Ramana

Vahini Book Trust, 1-162-1,

Snehapuri Colony, Hyderabad 500018 Price: Rs.120

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